Arkansas 71, UMKC 61

Saturday, December 2nd 2006, 3:14 pm
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Darian Townes came off the bench to score a season-high 19 points to lead the Razorbacks to a 71-61 win over Missouri-Kansas City on Saturday.

Arkansas (7-1) trailed 31-28 in a sluggish 1st half that saw the Razorbacks shoot a chilly 36 percent from the floor. The Razorbacks, coming off an 86-64 loss to Missouri on Thursday, trailed the Kangaroos by 11 twice in the opening 20 minutes.

The Razorbacks opened the 2nd half with 7 straight points and found holes in the UMKC zone defense that led to easy buckets inside for Townes and Charles Thomas. Arkansas took its first lead since early in the 1st half when Patrick Beverley scored on a layup for a 32-31 lead. The Razorbacks never trailed again.

Quinton Day's free throw with 12:49 left cut Arkansas' lead to 43-37 and the Kangaroos pulled even closer when Dominique Johnson hit a layup following Sonny Weems' fourth turnover of the game. Weems, Arkansas' heralded junior-college transfer, played just 14 minutes and was scoreless.

Preston Cranford came off the Arkansas bench and hit a pair of 3-pointers, the first with 11:05 left in the game to give the Razorbacks a 46-39 lead. Cranford's second shot from beyond the arc gave the Razorbacks a 49-41 lead with just under 10 minutes left.

UMKC would get as close a 3 points the rest of the way, but Gary Ervin nailed a jumper and two key free throws to help seal the victory.

Saturday's game was the first of four straight home games for the Razorbacks, including a December 16th game in North Little Rock against Texas Tech. Arkansas will host Central Michigan on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.